Another term for human trafficking is slavery. In today's world, it is often hidden and can apply to all types of people of any race, color or gender. It is not just forced prostitution. Victims of trafficking may also be in forced labor situations (nannies or maids), sweatshop workers, janitors, restaurant workers, migrant farm workers, hotel and tourist workers.
A victim can look like any person. But, look for some clues, like: evidence of being controlled or the inability to move or leave a job, bruises or signs of battering, depression, non-English speaking, recently arrived from Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada, Africa or India, or if they lack having a passport or identification papers.
The traffickers use various techniques to keep their victims. Some lock them up, all take the passport. Some create a debt bondage, where the victim remains a slave until the loan is paid (which never happens). Most keep the victim isolated from outsiders and if contact occurs, they are watched. Most are also threatened with abuse or their loved ones are and any money they earn is kept by their master. If they do not speak the local language, that also keeps them in line.
Here are some good questions to ask anyone suspected of being a victim:
- Can you leave your job or situation if you want?
- Can you come and go as you please?
- Have you been threatened if you try to leave?
- Have you been physically harmed?
- What are your working conditions like?
- Where do you eat and sleep?
- Do you have a bed or sleep on the floor?
- Have you been deprived of food, water, sleep?
- Do you ask permission to eat, sleep or go to the restroom?
- Are there locks on your doors and windows?
- Has anyone threatened your family?
- Has your identification papers been taken?
- Is anyone forcing you to do something you do not not want to do?
If you suspect a person of being a victim, call 1-888-3737-888. This is the hotline.
- HumanTrafficking.org: A Web Resource for Combating Human Trafficking in the East Asia Pacific Region
Provides information to combat human trafficking through prevention, prosecution, and victim protection.
Human trafficking website
- GEMS: Girls Educational & Mentoring Services
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower young women, ages 12-21, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential.
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